Naked Science Forum

General Science => Question of the Week => Topic started by: Emma Robertson on 17/06/2014 16:53:13

Title: QOTW - 14.06.22- Why are breaking waves white?
Post by: Emma Robertson on 17/06/2014 16:53:13
Emma Robertson asked the Naked Scientists:

We are looking at the waves breaking on Waikiki beach in Hawaii at night, wondering why the breaking waves are white. Where does the white come from? We suspect there is a relationship to this and phosphorescence...
 
Thank you, and we look forward to hearing your answer!

Aloha!

Emma and Greig











What do you think?
Title: Re: Why are breaking waves white?
Post by: RD on 02/06/2014 17:47:32
Emma Robertson asked the Naked Scientists:
   
We are looking at the waves breaking on Waikiki beach in Hawaii at night, wondering why the breaking waves are white. Where does the white come from? We suspect there is a relationship to this and phosphorescence...

White surf is the same mechanism as froth on a beer: scattering of light from small droplets/small bubbles ... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mie_scattering

If the surf has a blue glow it's bio-luminescence ...